Ricciardo has a 'head start'

Australian thinks he will have an early edge over Vergne

Last Updated: 07/02/12 11:47am

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Daniel Ricciardo (R): Thinks he will start season with the edge over Jean-Eric Vergne

Daniel Ricciardo (R): Thinks he will start season with the edge over Jean-Eric Vergne

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Daniel Ricciardo thinks he will head into the new season with a slight advantage over Toro Rosso team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.

Ricciardo competed in 11 grands prix in for HRT last season, while Vergne will head into the 2012 as a rookie having made the step up from Formula Renault 3.5.

Vergne did drive in Friday practice at three races last year and dominated the year-ending young driver test in Abu Dhabi at the wheel of Red Bull's title-winning RB7.

But Ricciardo thinks his greater Formula One race experience will give him the edge at the start of the new campaign, leaving his French team-mate to play catch-up.

"Having done 11 races last year was really beneficial for me and I learnt a lot and improved a lot during that time," Ricciardo said.

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"It's a bit of a head start, that's obvious, but we've both got quite a bit of testing before the season starts so he'll be able to catch up a little bit. Maybe for the first race he can use that excuse, but not for the first 11!"

Both Ricciardo and Vergne have come through Red Bull's driver development programme and the former can see his progression continuing all the way to the top of F1.

Ricciardo added: "It's nice we've both made it work. That's a part of their (Red Bull's) programme, to bring us through from the juniors and into Formula One, and we've both succeeded in doing that.

"That's the first job done, and I guess we both want to be world champion, so it will be a race to get to that target as well.

"So far it's all been good. Each year in our career we have gone a step forward, and this is definitely a pretty obvious and big step towards hopefully the big one one day."

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